If you've been reading my blog from the beginning, then you remember when we first found Paolo living in our shed. He was SO skinny, but a truly beautiful Himalayan cat.
I didn't want four cats, however, so instead of bringing him inside, I started trying to find a home for him. One of the moms I knew from the kids' preschool said she would take him, and that ended up being a disaster. She lied about a lot of things, and ended up dumping Paolo back at my house.
I refused to have a fourth cat, so I kept trying to find him a home. But one night, it was raining, and the poor cat was huddled in the cat carrier that I set outside for him. My heart broke for him, so I let him in. And he really hasn't been outside ever since! I never did find him a home, so he became our fourth cat, and we named him Paolo (going with the Friends theme in naming our pets).
Paolo was a quirky cat--very snobby, but to the point where it was humorous. When we'd set food in front of him, he'd sniff it and then turn his nose in the air like, "You really expect me to eat that? Where's my tuna tartare?"
He was very lovable, though, and adored to be petted and fussed over. When I'd get out his brush, he was right at my feet, waiting for me to groom him, while the other cats ran and hid. Whenever anyone would pet him, he'd spread his toes wide and then curl them back in, like he was trying to grab onto you and not let go.
He had an obsession with water, and he would only drink water that was pouring from the faucet. When he was thirsty, he'd run to the bathtub and start meowing until we'd turn it on for him (yes, he trained us). Eventually, I bought him a cat drinking fountain, so he'd always have running water to drink. Even then, he still liked the actual faucet.
Paolo never really learned his name. The other three cats come when we call their names, but Paolo would come when we'd call ANY of the cats' names. All you had to do was make a ticking noise with your tongue or call one of the cats' names, and Paolo would be there, thinking you wanted to shower him with attention.
We knew Paolo was old, but we weren't sure just HOW old. Over the past year, I started to think that maybe he was even older than than the 10-12 years we'd originally guessed, because he started to act differently. He started showing all the signs of feline dementia, and for the past few months, the symptoms were getting much worse. We took him to the vet to rule out disease or something curable, and learned that sure enough, he was "normal"--just getting old.
A couple of nights ago, Paolo was really agitated, and was meowing really loudly and pacing around the house. If a cat can "look" confused, he most certainly did. He was finding spots to hide, he wasn't eating, he was sleeping almost constantly, he didn't enjoy being groomed or even petted much anymore, and he'd gotten even skinnier than he already was (you could see all of his bones). His fur looked terrible, and his eyes were glazed over.
Jerry and I started to think that it was time to make a decision about euthanizing him. I felt horrible about it, but Paolo really seemed miserable. I looked up symptoms of a dying cat, and Paolo pretty much had the entire checklist. I couldn't bear the thought of taking him to the vet, so Jerry did it. The vet checked out Paolo, and said he agreed that Paolo's time had come. I don't want to write about the rest, but Jerry stayed with Paolo the whole time, and said it was peaceful.
We only had Paolo for three years, but I had gotten attached to him. Jerry and I liked to poke fun at his little quirks, and we always joked, "Oh, we're still looking for a home for him!" when someone would ask, but we knew that he had become our cat. The house seems different without him now.
Even though I didn't want four cats in the beginning, it turned out to be a blessing that things didn't work out with the home I'd found for him. Having him here turned out to be better for him AND us, and we will definitely miss him!